fresh pumpkin pie recipe

Elana Horwich is on a mission to make all of us pros in the kitchen. Her clean, but indulgent dessert recipe is the final piece in our Thanksgiving for Dummies planning guide. It’s the classic pumpkin pie that belongs on every Thanksgiving table, but utilizes fresh squash (bye, aluminum cans!) in the form of pumpkin and kabocha…

I call this Sunshine Pie because it tastes like the sunshine, and your guests do not want to look at their watches waiting for the right moment to make a polite exit so they can go home and sleep away the Thanksgiving culinary burden. Lighten up the load. Add sunshine.

It’s a little labor intensive to use fresh pumpkins, but honestly how many times a year are you making this? I would recommend asking friends/family/dudes with some muscle who are looking to feel useful to join in for a few minutes of pumpkin cutting to make the process quick and fun. The crust, on the other hand, takes only minutes. Most importantly it’s filled with mother-earth love, especially if you go organic. (The filling is adapted from Lisa Raven’s book In Season.)

Grain-Free Sunshine Pumpkin Pie
Makes 1 pie


For the crust:
3 cups pecans
7 Tbsp butter (or 4 Tbsp extra virgin coconut oil) plus 1 for greasing pan
10-12 dates, pitted

For the filling:
1 small sugar pumpkin
1 small kabocha squash
zest of 1 lemon
juice of ½ lemon
zest of 1 orange
juice of ½ orange
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ of a whole nutmeg, grated
¼ – ⅓  cup raw unfiltered local honey
3 eggs


For the crust:
Place the pecans, dates and virgin coconut oil in a food processor and pulse into paste.

Use the remaining butter to amply grease tart pan.

Use your fingers to “smush” the paste into the pie pan to form the crust. You want it to be about a ¼ inch thick and hence, you might have extra. (See note below.)

For the filling:
Preheat oven to 400°F.

Place the pumpkin and kabocha squash on the center rack and bake until very soft to the touch. A good hour.

Cut squashes in half horizontally, remove the seeds with a fork and scoop out the soft flesh. You will want 3  cups total.

Add the flesh of pumpkin and kabocha to food processor and reduce to a purée.

Add lemon zest, lemon juice, orange zest, orange juice, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, honey and eggs. Pulse into well mixed. Pour mixture into pie crust. Bring oven to 350°F and bake for 30 minutes.

Take crust out of oven and use tin foil to cover the the crust that is showing to prevent it from burning. Go ahead and place two large sheet of aluminum foil on top of each other like a plus sign, place pie pan on top and fold over until desired effect.

Bake for another 25 minutes or until firm to the touch.

Let cool to room temperature before serving. (Can be made in advance.)

Cooking note: If you would like, it is possible to make the pie in a 9” springform pan to resemble the photo. Apply crust “dough” on bottom and sides of the oiled springform, pour in filling and bake. Let cool completely. Remove outer piece of springform but leave pie on the bottom disk…this pie is too fragile to remove (unless you place it in the refrigerator overnight and then freeze it for an hour, and are very careful while moving it). Put on a cake plate and serve.

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